Wolves Put Chase Budinger Back On Trade Block

Chase Budinger is “plenty available” for a trade, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders denied last fall that the team was shopping the small forward amid reports to the contrary, and such rumors again surfaced a few weeks before the deadline, when Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reported that Budinger had requested, but not demanded, to be dealt. Minnesota faced long odds to find a taker at that point, as Deveney wrote then, adding that it was likely that Minnesota would try again to trade him this summer. Budinger, in spite of his apparent desire to play elsewhere, picked up his $5MM player option in April.

The Wolves are also reportedly making Anthony Bennett available as it appears the team has more on its to-do list this week than making its three picks, including the top overall selection, in Thursday’s draft. Minnesota is unlikely to have cap room this summer, as Charlie Adams of Hoops Rumors examined in our offseason outlook for the club, so presumably the Wolves, as they consider trades for Bennett and Budinger, would prioritize the acquisition of players who can contribute instead of moves that would clear salary. Still, just what the Timberwolves would want in return for the forwards isn’t entirely clear.

Philadelphia reportedly had interest as the deadline neared in trading for Budinger and doing a buyout deal with him. The Pacers, Pistons, Blazers and Rockets were apparently interested in him early last season, though other reports suggested that Portland and Houston weren’t in pursuit. The 27-year-old put up numbers this past season that were nearly identical to his production from the year before, averaging 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game across 67 appearances in 2014/15.

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